PHOENIX, Ariz. -- After elimination at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in a win-or-go-home Game Five, Oakland Athletics fans did something unexpected. They stood up in their seats and gave the A's a standing ovation.
That moment wasn't lost on the team, and they can't wait to get home to see the same fans that gave them the epic send-off at the conclusion of their 2012 season.
"You can't ask for much more than that, that was huge," pitcher A.J. Griffin said. "Just how much the fans care, it's really good to get back up there and see all of those smiling faces in the stands and all the excited people."
On Wednesday, after their final Cactus League game, it was announced that the A's have sold out the Oakland Coliseum on Opening Day.
"Everyone is looking forward to that," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Spring Training is long. Especially long this year because of the World Baseball Classic. Most of the team has been here since the February 10 report date, and in some cases even earlier. They are ready to go home and start playing games that count.
"Obviously the spring was important to get ready for the year, but once April comes around we're ready to go," shortstop Jed Lowrie said.
The A's closed out the Cactus League against the Rockies with a 6-5 win. They finished the spring 15-12. The team is just days away from defending their American League West title.
They hope to have some help.
"It's nice to know we have supporters," pitcher Tommy Milone said. "We want to play in front of people who are loud and excited."
Projecting the 2013 Opening Day roster
The A's haven't made any announcements about their Opening Day roster yet. There's still bound to be some last minute maneuvering. Until then, here are my predictions for Opening Day. Feel free to discuss and debate in the comments section below. We'll see how many I get right.
Predicted Opening Day lineup:
Straily (Colon after suspension ends)
Predicted Opening Day Bullpen:
Predicted Opening Day 25-man roster:
Anderson, Parker, Milone, Griffin, Straily, Balfour, Cook, Doolittle, Blevins, Blackley, Resop, Neshek, Norris, Jaso, Reddick, Crisp, Cespedes, Young, Smith, Moss, Freitas, Sizemore, Sogard, Lowrie, Donaldson.
Predicted Disabled List:
Nakajima, Rosales, Rodriguez